Will Forster

Mayor of Woking and Lib Dem County Councillor for Woking South Learn more

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Drug and alcohol detox plans must change

by willforster on 12 April, 2018

I am very concerned that proposed changes to the arrangements for drug and alcohol detoxification will make it more difficult for those trying to beat addiction.  Surrey County Council is currently consulting on proposals that include the closure of the in-patient facility at Windmill House at St Peter’s Hospital, leaving only one in-patient bed for the whole of county – which will be located outside of Surrey.

Other patients will be required to attend day centres in either Guildford or Redhill, and will have to return to their homes in the evenings and at weekends in a programme called “ambulatory detoxification.”  The consultation, which ends on 20th May 2018, follows a reduction in the public health budget for adult substance misuse treatment services of 24% from April 2018, following cuts approved by Conservative Councillors at their budget meeting in February.

These cuts will directly impact on some of the most vulnerable people in our community.  It is simply incredible to think that a county the size of Surrey will be left with only one in-patient bed to cover a population of 1.1 million, and it won’t even be in Surrey.  The Lib Dems and I urge all those affected to respond to the current public consultation to make clear that these proposals are not acceptable.

My concern is that patients who have made the huge decision to submit themselves to a detox programme need to be away from the locations and situations which they associate with their drinking or drug use and that is why in-patient detox beds are so important.  I feel that the clinical outcomes will be poorer and patients will find their lives have got even harder – I hope all service users and patients should make their voices heard as part of the consultation to make sure that Surrey County Council listens and then changes these plans, please respond to the consultation here.

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